Administration’s New Vision Ignites “One-College Athletic Program” Model

By George Verity

The college has eliminated five duplicated sport teams following a series of student forums in January and the hiring of College-Wide Athletic Driector, Samuel Braunstein in February.

 “Here at this institution we want to accomplish one central theme, one Suffolk identity.” said Dr. Marvin Bright, vice president of student affairs.  “But this is a process, a process that has a series of phases.”

Bright has been the Vice President of Student Affairs since the fall semester of 2007.  He has worked as an educator in the field of student affairs and athletics for the past 19 years at the higher education level. Braunstein has been Athletic director for the past six years at the college’s Grant campus, to go along with six previous years in the New York City system.  

Together they created what is now called the “One-College Athletic Program” model. 

“We have had positive feedback and no complaints from student leaders” Said Dr. Bright.

Before this model, intercollegiate athletics were run independently on separate budgets that competed against one another with different mascots and colors.  It consisted of duplicate sport teams on both the Grant campus in Brentwood and the Ammerman campus in Selden.  Men’s baseball, men’s basketball, and women’s volleyball were all duplicate sport teams offered at the college.  The Eastern Campus did not, and will not have sport teams because of its facility and size.

“Our goal is to have a seamless transition” Braunstein said.  “Basically we are taking two separate teams and putting them together to form one competitive team.”

With enrollment on the rise as a result of the economy, and more than 200 students participating in athletics at the intercollegiate level already, this vision and model appears to be successful.

 “I don’t see how this could be anything but beneficial because we are opening competition and putting the best athletes available together.  This will allow our athletes to become leaders and display excellence against other rivalries like Nassau Community College,” Braunstein said.  “Not only that, but now for the first time I have an assistant athletic director, Joseph Kosina.”

In addition, the “One-College Athletic Program” is looking to expand intramural programs by providing more opportunities for students to get involved on campus.  Intramural programs like dodge ball, flag football, ultimate Frisbee and basketball are now available for all students. Students with an i.d. card can participate in intramural registration in the Brookhaven Gym or on the student portal at MySCCC.

The college has already combined the two men baseball team’s into one sport team at the Ammerman Campus.  As of right now men’s baseball, basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, tennis and women’s basketball, cross-country, softball, tennis, and volleyball teams are played at the Ammerman Campus.  Men’s basketball, bowling, lacrosse, outdoor track, swimming, and women’s bowling, outdoor track, soccer, swimming, and volleyball teams are played at the Grant Campus.  The remaining duplicated teams will be blended and fused together in September of 2011.  At this time one official mascot and school color will be announced to complete this vision of one identity and unity.

While students voiced their support in January’s forums, some athletes are concerned about the changes.

“The only difference is  having to prove yourself all over again to a new coach because he has never seen you play before” said Anthony Eilers, a former baseball player for the Longhorns at the Grant Campus who will be joining the baseball team at Ammerman.  “Also transportation will be kind of a pain because of the time distance and the cost of gas,” Eilers said.

Each week practices and home games will alternate on both campuses.  One week the team will play at Grant, the next at Ammerman. 

“One issue is transportation but because of our budget and ADA compliance we cannot provide transportation to these students as of right now.  We are continuing to investigate a solution, but you are always going to have snags and hurdles in such a process like this,” Bright said.

As a result of the “One-College Athletic Program” model there will be also a vigorous competition for coaches.  All intercollegiate coaches at the college serve on a yearly basis.  After every year the coach has to re-apply and interview for the position and the best candidate will be hired.  The athletic department has opened the search for coaches nationally.

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